Center for Disability Resources (CDR)

Center for Disability Resources (CDR)

UCEDD Trainees

What is Interdisciplinary Training?

  • The interdisciplinary approach is based on the belief that the contribution and collaboration of all team members is essential to appropriately address the complex issues of people with developmental disabilities or special health care needs and their families (Helm et al., 2010).
  • The SC UCEDD refers to our interns as “trainees” to include multiple levels of educational experience and programmatic diversity.  Many of our trainees may also be referred to as “interns” or “practicum students.”
  • "Trainee is the term used to refer to any individual receiving preservice training or continuing education at an AUCD member program –a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND), or a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC). There are over 4,000 new trainees each year across the AUCD network of Centers and programs who come from a variety of backgrounds, such as audiology, disability studies, education, engineering, family, genetics, health administration, instructional technology, law & ethics, medicine, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, pastoral counseling, pediatrics, pediatric dentistry, physical therapy, psychology, public health, social work, and speech-language pathology, just to mention a few. Trainees might be undergrad students, grad students, post-docs, or community fellows. They might be called a student, trainee, or fellow at your Center or program. Traineeships at an AUCD member Center or program might last as little as one semester or as long as 4 years. Regardless of the differences, all AUCD trainees desire to learn about and work with individuals with developmental and other disabilities and their families." (AUCD Trainee Welcome Guide, 2010).
  • AUCD Interdisciplinary Training Resources:
    Interdisciplinary Training Guide 4th Edition, 2010
    Interdisciplinary Training Resources

Citation source: Helm, D., Holt, J., Conklin, K., Pariseau, C., & Pearson, S. (2010). Interdisciplinary training guide - AUCD. Interdisciplinary Training Guide. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from

How does CDR identify potential trainees?

  • The Center for Disability Resources (SC UCEDD) accepts trainees from diverse disciplines to ensure the best possible outcome for leadership and direct services.
  • We are currently accepting trainees from University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Winthrop, and SC State University.

What will trainees learn?

  • Over the span of the internship, trainees will learn about UCEDDs and their functions, the importance of Person-Centered Planning, the history of disabilities and the disability rights movement, the services and supports available to people with various intellectual and developmental disabilities, the role of the Developmental Disabilities Network, and much more!
  • This internship opportunity emphasizes the application of theoretical knowledge to practice settings by providing opportunities for advocacy, acquisition of leadership skills, and community networking.

What experiences will trainees have?

  • Trainees will be required to attend a week-long orientation prior to their internship start date
  • Trainees will attend bi-weekly supervision and monthly group supervision
  • Connection to a larger network of UCEDD programs through AUCD
  • Opportunities to attend both in-person and virtual training sessions, webinars, conferences
  • Meeting opportunities at a local, state, and national level
  • Participate in a variety of advocacy events (Disability Advocacy Day at the South Carolina State House, Advocacy Day for Access and Independence, Social Work Advocacy Day, TBI Awareness Events)
  • Depending on which program you are connected with there are opportunities for grant writing exposure and case management exposure
  • Social Work students are required to create a personalized Learning Contract to ensure a rich learning environment that covers the NASW core competencies

What qualifications are required?

  • Passion for learning
  • Ability to commit the time necessary to complete the program
  • Leadership potential
  • Commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities and their families
  • Good academic standing
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled at one of the colleges or universities previously listed and accepted into one of the following programs:
    -MSW (including advanced standing)
    -Genetic Counseling Masters
    -Speech/Language Pathology

Trainee application form link

Social work field placement brochure

Follow us on Social Media!

Trainee Images

Spotlight on our Graduate Assistants

Olivia Wilmarth is originally from Chesterfield, VA. She graduated with a B.S. in Global Health from Georgetown University in 2020. As a Disability Studies minor, she had the opportunity to learn more about the disability community through coursework and extracurricular events. She is now a second-year student in the Genetic Counseling Master’s Program at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. In her future as a genetic counselor, Olivia looks forward to interacting with diverse populations and serving as an advocate for patients with disabilities and chronic illnesses.


Mary Elise Nolen is originally from Birmingham, AL. She graduated from Furman University in 2021 with a B.S. in biology and a minor in Medicine, Health, and Culture. From 2021-2022 she was a Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellow at Duke Divinity School where she read disability theology and participated in community of adults with and without disabilities. Now she is pursuing a master’s in genetic counseling at the University of South Carolina. Mary Elise is thrilled for the opportunity to learn more about how academic research/resources and the needs of real people with various abilities meet at the Center for Disability Resources.


Allie Paltzer is originally from Naperville, IL. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Iowa in 2021. She is currently in her second year in the University of South Carolina Genetic Counseling Program. Allie is passionate about learning more about the lives and needs of individuals with disabilities during her time at the CDR, and looks forward to continuing that advocacy throughout her career.


Megan McMillan is from Garner, NC. She Graduated with a B.S. in Family and Community Services with a concentration in Child Development from East Carolina University in 2019. She has experience working with children in various early childhood education and school settings. She is now a second year Master of Social Work Student at the University of South Carolina. Megan has a passion for working with children and families in the school and medical settings. She is excited to have the opportunity to further her learning by working with the populations that are served at the Center for Disability Resources.